Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pro Patria Mori

"The GI of the future, as U.S. Army planners see him, will look so weird he may scare the enemy to death without firing a shot. The Army believes that in the event of a nuclear war, each soldier must be fully equipped to fight on his own. To illustrate its point, the Army trotted out Sgt. 1/C Ben Sawicki encased in a camouflage suit, a bulletproof vest, mask and gloves for protection against nuclear blasts and a light, plastic helmet with a built-in radio. Perched on the helmet is a pair of infrared glasses which he can use to spot the enemy at night or in a storm. Stuck in his vest are new high velocity bullets for his M-14 rifle. And tied to his back is a rocket device (not shown) to help him jump across 50-foot chasms or up hills. Says the sergeant. "With this outfit I could take on 10 soldiers with ordinary equipment and kill 'em all."
Cheery, eh? This is from a 1959 photo-story in LIFE magazine. Soooo heartrending, in a kind of gung-ho pre-Vietnam "erm...shouldn't this bloke be spraying sidewalks with Roundup in that outfit?" kind of way. Poor old Ben Sawicki in his nuclear blast-proof gloves. And I bet they replaced his M14, too. So creepy...

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